A few days ago, I declared my support for former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney. Now, I am launching a series of posts designed to convince others to do the same. The first parts of this series will be dedicated towards combating arguments against a Romney Presidency. The latter posts will be aimed at convincing Americans to support Romney.
Supporting Mitt Romney – Part I: Understanding Mormonism
Of all issues hurting Mitt Romney, perhaps the biggest one is his Religion. Romney is a Mormon, and if elected, he would be the nation’s first Mormon President. It is my belief that much of the reservation toward Mormonism results from a lack of understanding. Perhaps if people understood what Mormonism was, they would not be so hesitant.
So what is Mormonism? Well, by definition, Mormonism is the term most often used to describe the various denominations of the Latter Day Saints Movement. Mormonism was founded by Joseph Smith, Jr. in 1830. According to Smith, he was given a set of Golden Plates (which later became the Book of Mormon) and the authority to create a new church by Heavenly figures. While the Church started in New York, it grew rapidly, spreading to Ohio, and then other parts of the mid-west. However, in 1844, Joseph Smith and his closest aide were killed by an angry mob in Illinois. The death of the two men caused a crisis, which was resolved when Brigham Young was accepted as the new leader by the majority of the congregation.
Under the leadership of Young, a large group of Mormons moved to Utah, where they founded The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. This was, and remains, the largest sect of Mormonism. Since its foundation, the church has grown to an estimated 12.5 million members, more than half of whom live in South America. Like other religions, Mormonism includes various sects and breakaway groups, including reformers and fundamentalists.
Although it may come as a surprise to many people, Mormon beliefs are not that much different from mainstream Christian beliefs. Mormons believe that Jesus is the son of God and Savior of Mankind. Mormons believe in Heaven, and in the Second Coming. Mormons attend Church weekly, usually on Sundays. The services are open to all people, although the Sacrament (similar to Communion or the Eucharist). Those attending the services traditionally wear their “Sunday best.” It should also be noted that mainstream Mormons do not practice polygamy.
It is true that their are critisims of Mormonism from various groups, many of these critisism are not limited to Mormonism. For example, one of the largest points of critism by Evangelicals is the belief that there is not “faith without works”, but this belief is also held by Catholics.
No doubt that Romeny’s enemies will attempt to use his Religion as an opportunity to attack him, and you will probably hear the “Mormonism is a Cult” arguement, but I beleive that if the American Public can be educated on Mormonism, they are alot less likely to beleive those attacks.